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Priscilla UK Tour is No Drag for Stage Electrics

Priscilla UK Tour is No Drag for Stage Electrics
Priscilla UK Tour is No Drag for Stage Electrics

Nine years after its first stage production, the mass appeal of Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert shows no sign of waning. The musical story of two drag queens and a transgender woman crossing Australia in their eponymous tour bus is currently on its second UK tour, with a lighting rig supplied by Stage Electrics.

Nick Richings is the lighting designer for this tour and was given a clean slate by the producers: “I didn’t have to base it on any of the previous productions, which had been based on Nick Schlieper’s design for the Australian production,” he says. “It was good to be able to give it a new, fresh look, allowing me to use LEDs and moving lights a little more than on previous productions.

“The producers wanted it to be brash for the disco numbers, but still be able to tell the story in the book scenes. So we needed something subtle enough to not be too in your face, but have enough grunt to make it look spectacular when we go to the disco diva moments. Technology has moved on, as have expectations. Audiences expect the X Factor / Strictly look, so I wanted to put some of that into it.”

Nick chose mainly Martin Professional MAC fixtures, principally Quantums, Vipers and Auras, 50% of which were a new investment by Stage Electrics’ and the rest from the company's existing stock.

“I used Quantums onThe Sound of Music and was very impressed with them, they are bright, physically very light, the fan noise is minimal and I enjoyed using them,” says Nick. “We also needed a fixture with shutters, so I chose the Viper Performance.”

He continues: “Another key reason for choosing mainly MAC fixtures is their proven reliability as a touring fixture, there are often only a couple of days for the production to de-rig, travel to the next venue and re-rig. We compromised with the producers by having a slightly higher budget than they wanted, but getting it back through the saving in time and energy of focusing and the speed with which the rig goes up.”

“Another advantage of the LED fixtures is there is no ongoing replacement lamp cost, which was another pay-off with the budget.”

The willingness of Stage Electrics to invest in new equipment specifically for the tour is a measure of how committed the company is behind the UK’s touring theatre industry.

“Stage Electrics have been fantastic as always. They were very keen to go down the new technology path, to move on and get new equipment,” says Nick. “Mark Burnett was great. It was down to him that we managed to get the kit list that we really wanted. He was really helpful and they did a fantastic job in supplying the equipment.

“Mark also suggested that we use the Martin Rush PAR 2 RGBW Zoom, which I have been really impressed with. Originally I specified a different unit, but the Rushes are much better.”

“Working with Stage Electrics has been great,” adds touring chief Alex Lynn, who has a long relationship with the company. “I can ring them up at any time and talk through anything I need to. If we need any equipment or spares they are always with us next day. As a supplier they are incredibly supportive.”

In picture: Priscilla Queen of the Desert. photo: by Paul Coltas

Priscilla UK Tour is No Drag for Stage ElectricsPriscilla UK Tour is No Drag for Stage Electrics

10th November 2015

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